Top Ten New Zealand Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Exploring Stewart Island
  |  Gorp.com

Time has slowed down on Stewart Island, the southernmost point of New Zealand, also known as the "land of the glowing sky." It is remote and unpredictable, with only 20 kilometers of road, a population numbering just over 400, and erratic weather. Its beauty lies in its 755 kilometer-long coast, with long golden beaches, impressive sand dunes, and idyllic bays. The center of the island is rugged, consisting mainly of bush with steep gullies and ridges.

There are 220 kilometers of walking tracks here, linked into two circuits: the Rakiura Track, which takes three days, and the longer, muddier, more exciting North-West Circuit. The Rakiura is a Great Walk and rated moderate, covering just 36 kilometers. The North-West Circuit takes 10 to 12 days, covers 125 kilometers and is notorious for its mud and bogs, although the isolated beaches and bird life are also memorable. Bird watchers will be pleased; Stewart Island has the largest and most diverse bird population of any area in New Zealand, and it is one of the only places where trampers are likely to see New Zealand's national bird, the kiwi, in the wild.


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